We’ve heard rumblings this week that there is an increasing riff between the Mariners front office and the coaching staff, including manager Don Wakamatsu. This came up when Chone Figgins was openly defiant of Wakamatsu in the dugout the other day yet wasn’t disciplined in any way. Geoff Baker reports today, however, that the problems go all the way back to this past offseason.
Baker reports that the Mariners’ coaching staff begging for more offense, but that in their eyes “the front office did zero to make the offense better.” Adrian Beltre was allowed to walk without an offer. Figgins came in but, because of other holes, was moved to second base. No one had any confidence in the Milton Bradley or Casey Kotchman trades. They viewed the Mike
Sweeney signing as a sign of desperation. Baker also writes that “they knew Ken Griffey Jr. was done like an overcooked
Thanksgiving turkey.” A
Finally, and most damningly for front office/dugout relations, Baker writes that Wakamatsu and company were dumbfounded when, after the team got off to such a slow start, Jack Z fired hitting coach Alan Cockrell. It was the roster’s fault, the staff believed. Not Cockrell’s.
It’s striking, isn’t it, that despite all the hype surrounding the Mariners’ offseason moves — and remember back to January-March; there was a ton of hype — those moves not only proved to be poor ones in large part, but have served to create no small amount of in-house friction in Seattle.
Runnin’ a baseball team: it ain’t an easy business.
The magic number to clinch a wild card spot is still 1, but the Mets have at least secured a wild card tie after defeating the Phillies 5-1 on Friday night.
Jay Bruce powered the offensive drive, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and his 33rd home run of the season, ripped from an Alec Asher fastball in the seventh inning. On the mound, right-hander Robert Gsellman limited the Phillies to seven hits and one run over six frames, striking out seven batters in his eighth appearance of the year. Behind him, a cadre of Mets relievers turned out three scoreless innings to preserve the lead and anchor the Mets in the wild card standings.
The Cardinals aren’t out of the race quite yet, and can still force a tiebreaker with the Mets if they manage to win the remainder of their games this weekend and the Mets lose the rest of theirs. Any other scenario will ensure the Mets’ exclusive rights to a wild card spot next week. While a wild card clinch is unlikely to happen tonight, with St. Louis leading Pittsburgh 7-0 through 7.5 innings and just entering a rain delay, it remains a distinct possibility over these next two days.
In a season that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer (he of the 20-strikeout masterpiece) and Clayton Kershaw (he of nine separate games with at least 10 strikeouts), there hasn’t been anyone who’s done exactly what Carlos Rodon did this week.
During Friday’s series opener against the Twins, Rodon retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout. His streak — and the beginnings of a perfect game, if you can call it that after just 2 ⅓ frames — ended on a Logan Schafer double that found right field well before Rodon managed to put up two strikes. With seven consecutive strikeouts, Rodon became the first American League pitcher to strike out seven batters to start a game since right-hander Joe Cowley did it for the Sox back in 1986. Had Schafer whiffed on a couple more fastballs, Rodon would have tied Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom for most strikeouts to start a game in major league history.
Not only did Rodon manage to quell the first seven batters in Minnesota’s lineup, but he extended his strikeout streak to 10 consecutive batters dating back through his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, the last major league pitcher to do so was reliever Eric Gagne, who accomplished the feat for the 2003 Dodgers during his first and only Cy Young Award-winning season.
Any way you slice it, this is an impressive look: